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When a child has a fever, they are experiencing a higher-than-normal body temperature. This is considered a natural response to their body fighting infection. Children fever temperature is not considered an illness by itself. Parents want to know what temperature is a fever for a child. Should a child be 3 months or younger, with a temperature reading of 100.4 F or higher, a physician should be contacted, or the child should be taken to the emergency room. Any child with a temperature reading of 104 F, a physician should be, or the child should be taken to the emergency room. When parents want to know how to deal with children fever, there are certain things they should know.
What will cause a fever for a child?
Body temperature is controlled by the section of the brain known as the hypothalamus. It is normal for a child’s body temperature to vary during the day. When their body is dealing with an illness or infection, a child’s body temperature may be reset by the hypothalamus to a higher temperature. Common causes for fever in a child involve infections resulting in a cold, gastrointestinal problems and more. Vaccines, as well as medication side effects, could cause a child to experience a fever. It is also a sign a child could be suffering a condition that causes inflammation. In some circumstances, a fever in a child could be a symptom of cancer. It could also be a sign of blood clots, hormone disorders and more.
Diagnosing A Child With A Fever
When taken to a hospital, a child will be evaluated for the seriousness of their condition. The parent will be asked about their child’s health history. The treating physician will perform a physical examination. It is possible the treating physician may also order some tests.
This will be ordered if a child has shortness of breath, cough or chest pain. It can be used to identify problems with a child’s heart, chest or lungs. It can reveal some types of pneumonia.
Complete Blood Count
Drawing blood from a child can be difficult because their veins are so small. A blood sample will provide important health information about a child.
- *Complete Blood Count – This is an effective way to determine if a child has a bacterial blood infection. It can also identify if an infection is viral or bacterial. This will help the treating physician know if a child’s immune system is functioning properly.
- *Bacteria – A blood sample will let a treating physician know if there are harmful bacteria present in a child’s bloodstream. This particular test result is identified within 72 hours or fewer.
- *Electrolyte Levels – This makes it possible to evaluate if a child is dehydrated and if they need specific types of electrolytes. Certain electrolyte therapies and replacement therapy may be ordered.
This is when a child’s urine is obtained for testing. It is an effective way to determine if a child has an infection in their urinary tract. This can determine if certain types of bacteria are present in their urine. It can also determine a child’s level of dehydration.
In extreme situations, a treating physician may request a spinal tap be performed on a child. This procedure will take a small sample of a child’s cerebrospinal fluid. This is fluid around a child’s spinal cord and brain.
- A spinal tap could be ordered to check if a child has an infection of the brain and surrounding tissue. This is known as meningitis.
- It is considered a very safe procedure. Children experiencing complications are very rare.
- A parent or legal guardian will have to give their consent for the procedure to be performed on a child.
- A machine is used to analyze the fluid that is removed. It will be tested for the presence of white as well as red blood cells. Levels of protein as well as glucose are also analyzed.
Signs A Child Has A Fever
It is possible for the symptoms of a fever in children to be very subtle or quite noticeable. Younger children often have signs of a fever that are more subtle. Infants may be irritable, not feed normally, be lethargic, breathe rapidly, change sleep habits as well as eating habits, fussy, feel warm or hot cry and in some cases have seizures. When a child is old enough to describe how they’re feeling, they may have body aches, a poor appetite, a headache. They may be sleeping more than usual or struggle with sleeping.
Checking A Child’s Temperature
When a parent suspects their child has a temperature, they can verify it by using a thermometer. There are a variety of thermometers available. Some parents will use a digital thermometer, and others prefer glass thermometers. Some physicians recommend tympanic thermometers like ThermoPro digital ear thermometer. These are hand-held thermometers able to take a child’s temperature by placing a probe into their ear. They are often used in a physician’s office but are also used in emergency situations. It is able to obtain a vital temperature quicker and with less difficulty than other methods.
Medication To Ease Fever Symptoms
In some cases, it is possible to give a child ibuprofen or acetaminophen by following the directions on the package for weight and age. It is advised never to give a child aspirin unless recommended by a physician. Doing this has been associated with a rare but fatal disease known as Reye syndrome. This is a severe condition. Reye syndrome causes the brain and liver in a child to swell. If a parent is uncertain of the correct amount of medication for their child who is under 2 years old, they should contact their physician. A child less than two months old should not be given medication for a fever unless recommended by a pediatrician. It’s essential to realize medication can bring a fever down, but it won’t treat any underlying causes for it.
Food And Drink For Fever Symptoms
When a child has a fever, it is important they avoid dehydration by having plenty of fluids. A fever will cause a child to lose fluid faster than usual. Should a child have a fever and be experiencing diarrhea as well as vomiting, a physician could recommend an electrolyte designed to help with these symptoms.
Preventing Fevers In Children
It has been shown many illnesses that cause a child to develop a fever are a direct result of household and personal hygiene. It is recommended people make sure to carefully wash their hands with hot water and soap after using the bathroom and before eating. A healthy diet also plays an essential role in avoiding illnesses. Teaching children to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze is important. Children need to be properly immunized. It also helps when children get a sufficient amount of sleep each night.
It is common for a child to get a fever for many different reasons. In most cases, they can be easily treated. A child will get over the fever and be back to normal in a couple of days. All children are a little upset when they have a fever. When it comes to older babies and children, it is important to notice the way they are behaving. In some cases, their behavior will indicate a fever before their temperature is taken. If a child is acting as if they are ill, even after their temperature reading says they have a low-grade fever, it may be time to contact a physician.